Swan by Nader G. Vakili


Palio (bloodwood) set on a weathered pile on a black laminate base
71.5"H x 35"W x 16.25"D

From childhood, I was impressed whenever I saw swans: they would chase me and hiss angrily. So I always wanted to present that; at the same time, I wanted to show the ripples as the swan went through the water. When I was going through some of the lowlands in Honduras, I went by the field of an old Mayan farmer. He was cutting the trees that were around him, and he wanted to cultivate more. One of the trees had a huge buttress at its lower end. With a machete I marked out a triangle, and for 10 lempiras – about five dollars – the farmer’s teenage son cut it for me. The beauty of the buttress is that the grain of the wood is like plywood, very difficult to break – which is why I was able to carve this slim, upright, rippling swan, and it has remained intact. The wood is a heavy tropical hardwood called palio, or bloodwood, because when you cut it, it bleeds red. Later, when I moved to Fort Pierce, Florida, I was able to cut a beach piling for the base.